By Hassan Talib Haji
There is hardly a bigger stage. Illuminated by floodlights and being watched on televisions across the world to the soundtrack of the Champions League anthem, Julian Draxler and Andre Schurrle, two of German football's brightest prospects, do battle as Schalke host Chelsea on Tuesday.
It all comes with an intriguing backdrop. Draxler was courted by the Premier League club throughout the summer, but elected to stay with his boyhood club, despite a lucrative offer to leave.
The rise of Draxler, who only turned 20 in September, has been long yet mercurial. Coming to prominence on the back of some game-changing performances as Schalke won the 2011 DFB Pokal, rumours of admiration from Jose Mourinho, then at Real Madrid, first surfaced when he was just 17.
Since that day, Schalke general manager Horst Heldt has been constantly fending off questions regarding Draxler's future.
When the midfielder turning down a move to Stamford Bridge, Manchester City and Real Madrid, Mourinho instead opted to sign Schurrle, who had long been on Roman Abramovich's shopping list.
And so it is a landmark game: for Schalke to establish themselves among the European elite; for Draxler to show the world (not to mention Low) what he can do and to demonstrate to Chelsea why they signed the wrong German winger over the summer.
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